Brad Seng, driver of the No. 12S S&S Transport MB Custom, set a new track record for late models, with a time of 11.584 seconds. Seng then lowered that mark to 11.514 seconds, at just under 94 mph for an average speed.
The old mark was set by Rick Eckert on July 10, 2009, driving the late Raye Vest's No. 24. Eckert put down a lap of 11.756 seconds in qualifying with the World of Outlaws late model series. An early evening sun shower made the track lightning fast on that night in 2009. Mike Balcaen, driver of the No. 10 Enns Brothers Black Diamond, also ended the night under the old track record, running another blistering lap of 11.534 seconds around the three-tenths mile oval.
Two unfortunate incidents happened during the evening, however. Ryan Corbett, driver of the No. C4 Corbett Trucking MasterSbilt, lost an engine early in the first practice session. John Halvorson, campaigning his No. 35 Taco Johns MB Custom, hooked a rut and went for a horrifying series of barrel rolls. Fortunately he was o.k.
New River Cities Speedway track record holder Brad Seng. Mike Spieker photo.
Joey Pederson, driver of the No. 7P Dahlstrom Motors MB Custom and Bill Mooney, driver of the No. 2 OMG Candy MasterSbilt put on a great race during one of their practice sessions, spending no fewer than four laps door-to-door, running laps in the twelve second bracket. Pederson and Mooney ended up third and fifth quick in practice respectively.
Defending NLRA and River Cities champion Dustin Strand, driver of the No. 71 Q&Z Plumbing & Heating Longhorn, ran fourth quick at 11.821 seconds. Steve Anderson, driver of the No. 9 Hi-Per-Flex Panel Systems Pierce, ended the night sixth quick with a lap of 12.075 seconds.
The rest of the field included Jeff Hapala, driver of the No. 16S Auto Solutions Rocket. Hapala is beginning his fourth season of late model competition. Jason Storbakken, driver of the Storbakken & Sons Const. No. 16, made the trip from Williston to turn a few laps. I-94 Speedway regulars Kevin and Erik Robertson also made some laps at River Cities, Kevin hasn't raced at River Cities for at least two seasons, while Erik was making his late model debut at the speedway.
2015 River Cities rookie of the year Robert Bladow, driver of the No. 00 Primitive Place K&K Racing GRT, made his return to action after engine problems ended his season early last season. 2016 rookie contender Ryan Dahl, driver of the No. 33 Demon Design Victory Circle, made his first laps behind the wheel his new car. Dahl is moving over from the IMCA Modified division, he was a regular in the division at the Buffalo River Race Park in Glyndon, MN.
Brandon Fuller, driver of the Broken Drum No. F9, and Matt Sparby, driver of the No. 81X J-Mak Racing Rocket, are starting their first full seasons back since returning to action last season.
Cole Schill, driver of the No. 44 Mig Ag Dispatch MasterSbilt, started his season on April 15th and 16th at the Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin. Schill bagged a pair of top ten runs, finishing third and sixth, improving sixth spots during the feature each night.
River Cities season is set to kick off this Friday night, April 29th, at seven o'clock. For more info visit rivercitiesspeedway.com